Author Topic: Aerial Warfare  (Read 2344 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Aerial Warfare
« on: January 20, 2008, 01:17:55 AM »
I intend to distill the comments and ideas polished here into a cohesive post for the fron page detailing the mechanics, tactics, and strategies of combat in a setting of floaitng islands, airships, and general aerial mounted combat.

Ship to Ship Combat
ballista and catapults
boarding actions and marines
maneuvering and positioning

Ship to Land Combat
Dropping marines
island defensive strategies
ship based bombardment

Aerial Mounted Combat
flying lists
mounted archery
Melee weapons???
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Offline Dozus

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Re: Aerial Warfare
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 02:42:51 PM »
Mounted combat: think Atari's Joust.  The goal is to knock one's opponent off of their mount.  This is deadly enough in land mounted combat; in aerial combat, it means certain death.  Presumably, of course, stirrups and saddles are designed to keep a rider firmly attached to their mount at whatever cost.

Maneuvering in the air adds another dimension to mounted combat.  Not only can one flank from the sides or rear, but also the ventral and dorsal.  A mount such as a hawk could pluck an opponent from their mount with giant talons and toss them into oblivion.  Armor for a mount would probably be important given such situations; a mount distracted by wounds is more likely to flounder in the sky.
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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Aerial Warfare
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2008, 02:04:13 AM »
I've been thinking alot on the mounted combat and I keep coming up with the same problem. Jousting works because a horse is usually not more than two or three feet wide. A pair of riders can swing past one another, clash weapons and move on. Riding on a flying mount, there comes the problem of wings. Two giant birds would pass wingtip to wingtip, putting the riders a good fifteen to thirty feet away from each other, long range for even the longest of spears and polearms. Other passes could be made, but one rider upside down is a huge disadvantage, mounts could pass vertical to one another, putting both riders on their sides, and so on. I see this sort of mounted combat to be difficult and beyond dangerous.

Missle combat seems much more viable, sniping and such seems more likely. it isnt glamorous, but seems more plausible. I want the aerial combat to work smoothly.
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Offline manfred

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Birds and tactical considerations
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2008, 02:19:03 PM »
Speaking of hawks, what about the common-sized variety? A raptor or a few could be quite distracting if they went for the eyes and other sensitive areas of a large flying beast; and small enough to evade the rider's attempts to kill them - or they could go directly after the rider.

Of course, they would need training, cost a pretty penny, and require further adaptations (how to prevent them from attacking their own side). So it could be a specialized tactic, or the trademark of a certain group.


Speaking of birds, many a secret attack can be discovered with the help of avian creatures, trained or not.
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Aerial Warfare
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2008, 03:07:33 PM »
I would agree with Scrasamax here. While Dragonlance and such gives glorious images of knights astride flying mounts, wielding lances and swords, it is slightly illogical. Swords and daggers would be reserved for close combat fights, such as those on airships during a boarding.

Take my Epoa adventure mount for instance: A giant crane fly. The insect could descend or ascend and change momentum at a second's notice, enabling it to outmaneuver the faster flying hawks and eagles easily. This comes at a cost of speed and robustness. My point? Well, it would be nearly impossible to gut such a creature with lances and swords. Arrows, however, now those are a different story.

In mounted aerial combat (as opposed to ship vs ship), I'd say the following would be important:
Long range magics
Missile weapons
Alchemical explosives and stun bombs

The following would make swords more valuable in mounted aerial combat:
Vision obfuscation (fog spells and such)
Mounts in a lock (for instance a hawk with it's talons in the gut of a griffon)
Swooping down on big, lumbersome airships or sky fortresses

As for sky fortresses: The aerial theme of the setting will make standard castles rather awkward, as most opponent could just fly over even the highest wall conceivable. To be effective they would have to be bunker like installation with slits in EVERY direction.
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: Aerial Warfare
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2008, 06:31:41 PM »
I'll play Devil's Advocate here. 

Arrows are hard to use in aerial attacks.  Flying mounts make for very unstable platforms, and wind is much more of an issue even a few hundred feet up.  Also, the archer must take into consideration not only the target's motion, but the mount's. A defender on the ground has an advantage--he or she only needs to account for the flying range & speed, and has a stable surface from which to fire.

Swords & lances come into their own in dogfights & fly-by attacks.  In the former, you may be able to leap from one mount to another, or successfully drive off an attacker that would otherwise easily strike the mount, and close-range weaponry is essential here.  For a fly-by, you only need to hit once.  Indeed, you only have time to make one attack, so you had better make it count.  The mount may be easier to train for this, as it doesn't need to actually go in for an attack, just get close.  Fly in fast & tight, with the wings held closely to the body.

The chief difference is that it cannot really be a stand-up attack sequence.  It's mostly about manoeuvring.  You do many aerial acrobatics and maybe, just maybe, get in one shot.

I like the smaller flying critters idea.  Augmenting that is chaff, or just debris thrown behind the flyers.  Getting streamers in your face & wings, or just a bunch of nails or something, can mean the difference between winning and crashing.
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